The Source of All Good
James Smith, 1860
The Lord often refers us to nature, to illustrate his conduct in dealing with his people. He does so by the prophet, when he had been denouncing the sin, and threatening to punish his professing people. He refers to the gardener preparing his soil, selecting his seed, and collecting the produce of his land. Then he represents himself as the author of the talent and skill displayed, intimating that he will deal more skillfully with them. "This also comes forth from the Lord Almighty, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working." Isaiah 28:29.
The Lord Almighty is the source of all good. Of every good thing we may say, "This comes from the Lord Almighty." All natural good, as wisdom, skill, and talent--is from the Lord; he gives, and divides to every man individually as he will. All spiritual good is from God, as divine life, and all its accompanying blessings. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. All flows from God, who is naturally, essentially, and eternally good. The sun is not so full of light, or the sea of water--as God is of goodness.
Yet he dispenses his good things sovereignly, both as to kind and degree. To some he gives one kind of talent, and to others another. To some he gives one talent, and to others five. "He does according to his will."
He always acts wisely as well, in the distribution of his gifts, as in everything else.
Yet he invariably deals justly, nor ever injures one, by conferring favors on another. To every one he gives according to his place and station, that each may be fitted for his position and duties. But he deals with his own people graciously, and while in them he glorifies all his perfections, his grace is most conspicuous. Every good desire, every holy emotion, and every righteous action they experience or perform, "comes forth from the Lord Almighty, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working."
The giver of all good, is wonderfully wise in his plans. His object in them is to bring out and display all the perfections of his nature, to reveal his whole character. He has determined to glorify himself in our present good, and also in our eternal salvation. He has counseled to do this, and his counsel is wonderfully wise. Hence the prophet cried, "Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. O great and powerful God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to all the ways of men; you reward everyone according to his conduct and as his deeds deserve." Jeremiah 32:17-19
He exactly adapts all the parts of his plan to the whole, so that the vast machine works with ease and certainty; and displays the wisdom of his counsels, by producing all he wills with the greatest certainty, in a world of contingencies. His plans never fail. His purposes are never frustrated. His decrees are all accomplished. As he speaks, "I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." Men may cavil, dispute, and oppose--but "The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations."
In accomplishing his purposes--his excellent wisdom is displayed. This is especially the case in our salvation. He wonderfully secures his own glory, by the sacrifice of his Son, so that none of his perfections are compromised. He hides pride from man, by the instruments he employs to accomplish his ends--the feeble, the foolish, the unlikely. He silences his foes, by the justice he displays, so that to every creature he can say, "I do you no wrong," and every one's conscience will be obliged to reply, "He has done me no wrong." He displays his wisdom equally, in correcting our faults--by afflictions, crosses, and sore trials.
The resources of God are boundless, and cannot be exhausted. His counsels are too deep and wonderful for us to understand. "He does great and unsearchable things; marvelous things without number." "Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out; he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice." This made the apostle to cry out, "O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
His work is too excellent to be improved; let us therefore . . .
study it with care,
believe the testimony of his Word in reference to it,
admire it whenever and wherever we discover it,
commend it to the study and admiration of others, and
seek grace that we may daily enjoy meditation upon it ourselves.
Lord, teach us by your patient and Holy Spirit, to watch your hand, admire your wisdom, and in reference to every good thing given to us, or done by us, may we with meek humility say, "This also comes forth from the Lord Almighty, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working."